Self-Compassion: A Resource for Positive Aging

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Abstract

Objectives.

Self-compassion has been associated with psychological health in young and multigenerational samples. This study investigated whether self-compassion may be associated with subjective well-being (positive affect [PA] and negative affect [NA]) and psychological well-being (ego integrity and meaning in life) in older adults. It also assessed the structure of the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS; Neff, 2003a) in older adults.

Method.

A total of 185 adults aged 65 and older (Mage = 73.42) completed several self-report measures, including the SCS.

Results.

Path analysis revealed that self-compassion was significantly positively associated with PA, ego integrity, and meaning in life, and negatively associated with NA. Factor analyses indicated that the SCS structure identified among undergraduates was not observed in our older sample. Instead, two factors emerged which provided predictive utility.

Discussion.

These results extend research knowledge, inform strategies to enhance well-being in older adults, and indicate that self-compassion may represent a valuable psychological resource for positive aging.

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